Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Good News/Bad News"

This morning after I poured myself some coffee, but before I actually had a chance to drink any of it, I got the follow-up call from my vet regarding the myelogram images.  My first thought was "wow, it's only tuesday - I'm impressed he's had time to talk to Dr. Grant about the images already." My second thought was "wait, why did he just say that he has 'good news/bad news'..."

As far as I can tell there wasn't a lot of opportunity for "good news" per se, maybe some "predictable" news, or possibly some "intriguing" news.. but instead I got what I would consider "interesting" news.

1) the myelogram confirmed a compression on the spinal cord between her C3 and C4 vertebrae.  The x-rays indicated that there was some kyphosis at that joint - and indeed, when Pia's neck is flexed, it is compressing her cord about 30%.
What does this mean? well... a 50% compression requires surgery for sure.  in fact, a 50% compression requires surgery FAST because at 50%, the longer it goes untreated, the more permanent damage is done and even surgery won't restore full function.  At 30%, less catastrophic damage is being done, so timeliness is less imperative.  Surgery can still help, but some people opt not to have it at 30%.  If we do operate and it's successful, it's likely that P would recover much of the damage caused by the compression.
2) The myelogram was "inconclusive" beyond her 5th vertebrae.  I asked what "inconclusive" meant, and was told "not enough information to diagnose."  What "inconclusive" really means, is that not enough isotope dye dribbled down to her lower neck in order to get a clear picture of what's going on through all of her massive muscles.
What does this mean?  well... basically it means that even though we don't think there are any other compression sites in her lower neck, we don't KNOW that there aren't any other compression sites in her lower neck.  And before we surgerize her and stuff her full of metal to hold her neck together, it's good to know that you're working with the lights on.  Basically we have to wait two weeks for Pia's raging isotope-dye-hangover to subside, then we get the pleasure of repeating this entire experience.  Because we have to.
So... basically, my takeaway is - WTF, are you serious.

I get that these things happen, and of course I want to do whatever needs to be done in order to ensure that we've got as much information as possible, but still.  Hard not to feel dejected.  Oh, did I mention that the office manager emailed me the invoice approximately 5 minutes after I hung up the phone? not the best timing as I'm literally looking at doubling a $1500 field trip before we have the info we need. LAME.

However we did talk about what else could be helpful and decided that we'll videotape a full neurological exam before the next myelogram and send that clip to Dr. Grant for consult along with the second set of films. 

 Pia says, please stop stabbing needles in the top of my head now, k thx.

1 comment:

  1. OMG! I'm so sorry, that's so frustrating! If you ever want to join my "Broken Horse" Coffee club let me know! Ugh! I hope PIA is okay! I hate paying LOADS of money just to repeat the process!! We're getting our third x-ray tomorrow!


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